Simons reaches quarter-finals
Bermuda's Tariq Simons is adamant he will not move away from his “pusher” playing style after booking a quarter-final place in the Bermuda ITF Junior Open yesterday.
Simons, who was handed a bye to the second round, handled the added pressure of being seeded at No 6, to overcome Luca-Julian Hotze, of the United States, in straight sets, prevailing 6-2, 6-1.
Despite the comfortable scoreline, Simons reflected on a “tough” encounter after a number of lung-busting rallies throughout but refused to change his style, which is built around wearing his opponent down.
“Overall, I played well,” Simons said. “There were some tough spots but I managed to pull out the victory.
“My game style is to grind my opponents down by using my speed and fitness to keep returning shots, where as other players, particularly from the US, seem to hit through the ball at the base line.
“It can be tough playing that way because I have to run a lot and use a lot of energy but they also lose energy through having to keep hitting through the ball; it worked well today.
“The first game of any tournament is often the hardest because of the nerves and anxiety, but as long as I can get through that, I usually relax and the remaining games go a little smoother because you have a feel for the court and the ball.”
Simons said he is determined to pay little attention to expectations of others as he aims to make his mark in what will be his last appearance in this tournament category.
“There is definitely an added pressure with being seeded,” Simons added. “People come to the tournament and pay close attention to you because they have expectations.
“It's a lot of pressure but I just to stick the game style that I know. I'm not a player who is going to hit a lot of big winners, but I'm happy to do what I know best.
“I was taught to have no expectations and so I don't put loads more added pressure on myself in that sense.
“This my last year playing in this category tournament so I'm aiming to make the best of it and give it my all.”
Simons will face Jakub Ostajewski in the quarter-final after the No 3 seed beat Amil Dodds 6-3, 6-3.
There was less joy for Bermuda's Richard Mallory after the No 4 seed went down to a 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 defeat to Pranaz Ikkurthy. Ikkurthy will take on Aiden Drover-Mattinen, who beat eighth-seed Jacob Lowen 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Top-seed Mark Dancurt will take on fifth-seed Samuel Reichbach in the next round after overcoming Haitam Aboufirassi 6-2, 6-4. Reichbach beat Oscar Oberoi Jensen 6-1, 6-0.
Second-seed Ellis Short also progressed through after beating Christophe LeBlanc 6-4, 6-3, while Azariah Rusher overcame No 7 seed Gabriel Johnson 6-4, 6-0.
There was a shock in the girl's quarter-finals as Catherine Denysiewicz-Slowek beat top seed Shirley Lang 6-1, 6-2. Next up is third-seed Mia Slama who previaled 6-1, 6-0 against Eva Goncharov.
Second seed Olivia Lancer overcame Eve Costantini 6-4, 6-0. She'll face No 4 seed Amulika Gottiparthy in the next round, who beat Orly Ogilvy 6-4, 6-1.